home projects

On the 11th Day of Christmas



On the  11th Day of Christmas my true love gave to me, eleven Pipers Piping.

Again, I have to admit that the image of an entourage comes to mind but I don't want to repeat myself. Can you imagine the entrance one would make with eleven Pipers Piping? I am slowly running out of ways to reject this poor man's gifts. Perhaps eleven Pipers Piping isn't so bad....

But perhaps a little bit better, or at least a little bit cuter would be this super sweet flour sack tea towel with our latest critter on it. Please meet Hazel, the Hedgehog and the HAZEL FLOUR SACK TOWEL KIT.

Not sure you all want a hedgehog story but here's one anyway. When my husband and I were first married, we collected hedgehogs of every kind and size imaginable- cards, stuffed animals, ceramic ones and really wanted a real one. Cheesy I know but true confesssions usually are. Having come from Poland, where hedgehogs were plentiful, I missed the little creatures and the husband, well he humored me. Since then, the hedgehog collection has been put or given away but once in a while the hedgehog obsession comes out and I have to do something with it.



... here she is in her natural habitat with mushrooms and grass and leaves. 



... I know she might be too cute to use, but she could certainly decorate.






... the needlework details include grass, eyes and nose as well as flower accent.


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And for those of you who might like to give applique a try, here is the perfect item for you. An APPLIQUE KIT with all of my favorite goodies in it!

Applique kit info

Over the years, one of the questions we get alot is about our way of doing applique. I know that for many of you applique is something that you just refer to as the "A" word and not something that you want to pursue. But trust me when I tell you, that applique is not nearly as hard as its cracked up to be. For years, I tried and worked with methods that just didn't help me until I found the Starch Method of Applique. I love it and it helps me to create the perfect shapes that I need for my designs every time. Today I thought I would share a little kit of goodies so that you can try out a little bit of starch applique on your own. Hazel might just be the perfect project to try it on! 


And the goodie with today's purchase is the CHICKEN SCRATCH pattern, just in case you want to create some chicken friends for Hazel!


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For ordering info on the project aboveCLICK HERE.

See you tomorrow!


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*** Please note that if the 12 Days of Christmas website space is blank, that means that the item for the day has sold out. Nothing is wrong with the site, the item has just been sold out.

• The Fig Tree 12 Days of Christmas sale starts on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, and lasts for 12 days.

• Each day a different kit, stocking stuffer or home dec goodie will be advertised. Each day a special offer will be made as well.

• Each special offer will only be available on that day. Each goodie will only be available while stock lasts. Many of the items offered will sell out on that day.

• For those of you who want to continue to purchase items throughout the 12 days of the sale but want us to hold your purchases for one shipment, you need to note that in the comments section of your order. If there is no note, we will ship the items as they are ordered.

• For those of you who have your items held for one shipment at the end, your orders will continue to accrue shipping charges for each order throughout the sale. We will calculate the actual shipping at the end and then refund any necessary shipping charges then. 


A Little Updo

I'm sure that I'm not the only for whom this is true but sometimes in my most overwhelming times and deadlines, I really, really need to do something else for a break. It makes everything else go faster, easier and better, it seems. So last weekend I decided I was finally going to give my very old and outdated hutch a little updo. The top of the hutch was oak and the original bottom was something I gave to a friend since I wanted something bigger with more presence and storage space.  This bottom was a white piece that I had found at the flea market this summer. It had been sitting in my dining room since then, taking up space!

A little dark grey chalk paint for most of the hutch and some creamy white for the interior and we were done. 

I can't even tell you how happy the end result is making me.

If I'm not doing what I am supposed to be at any given time... well, you might just find me with a cup of tea at my dining room admiring my "new" hutch.


I know, I know, I am easily pleased.




... my favorite chicken collection.



... my favorite new Weck Jars. Now if I just had the time to can something that would be even better!





... love that little touch of light green these days. Doesn't it look wonderful with the orange and bright yellow?







If there is a random little project that you have been wanting to do but haven't had the time... well, go for it. I think it will make you feel so accomplished! 


Prairie Point Towel

Happy 4th of July everyone!! Hope your day is filled with at least some of the following: a whole hecka bunch of good food- at least some of it barbequed, lots of laughter, perhaps a glass of wine, good music, fireworks, pie- eating contests, bike races, twinkling lights and lots of friends and family [this is what we will be doing at our annual neighborhood block party]!


These quick flour sack towels really couldn't be more simple....

Step 1: Sew (2) 2 1/2" strips together. Press to one side and cut into 4 1/2" x 4 1/2" squares. Make them all from one strip set or make them all scrappy from a variety of fabrics or leftovers like we did. Whichever way you go, you will need 7-8 squares depending on the width of your flour sack towel and how much  you want them to overlap one another.



Step 2: Fold the squares into prairie points as shown below. First fold the square in half and then in half again. One side of your prairie point will be all one fabric and one side will be dual fabrics like shown below. As you fold them, be sure that you fold all of them in the same direction to end up with the fabric in the same positions. You will know what I mean if you fold it in the opposite way.




Step 3: Lay the prairie points along the bottom of your towel, overlapping them as needed, all the way across the towel. The dual fabric side should be right sides together with the towel and the single fabric side will be showing on top. Make sure all the raw edges of the prairie points are lined up with the edge of the towel. 

Sew the prairie points to the towel with a large stitch that is a bit smaller than the 1/4" that you will be sewing with so that it does not show when you bind the towel.



Step 4: Bind the towel all the way around. Given that the towel is so light, it will look better [and the towel will be softer to use] if you make single fold binding. But if all you know how to do is double fold binding [the standard quilting kind] then it is fine to do that as well. Be careful around the prairie points as you bind to make sure that the points are still flat against the towel.

Press the prairie points down over the binding and stitch in place with one topstitched line. Note that the prairie point side of the towel will have a tendency to be stiffer than the rest of the towel due to the amount of fabric that is down there and it might not want to lay folded in half like a traditional towel. It will be more agreeable after you wash it and dry it. Also it might work better if you hang it like we did in the pictures instead of trying to get it to fold exactly in half.

Final towel


Happy embellishing!


Oh and BTW, if you stay tuned we will have some pattern news in a few hours. Just need to go eat a little 4th of July breakfast!










A Little Something, Something

By now, you must all know about my love of flour sack dish towels. We have embellished them. Made them into kits. Made patterns out of them. 

So when I was working on one of my top secret QUILTS & MORE SCRAP LAB projects [due out later this fall], and had a whole bunch of really cute little prairie points left over.... what else could I possibly do with them but add them to a flour sack! It makes the cutest dish towel I have ever seen. Really.

So for a little 4th of July post tomorrow, I will add a very simple little tutorial on how to make these. For today... I hope you enjoy the photos.









FLOUR SACK: available at any home type store like Target, Wal-mart or Kmart.

FABRICS: Camille & Bonnie's MARMALADE. Very yummy and due out in fall '12.

BINDING: MODA Bella Solid Clover.


Be back tomorrow with the how to and if the stars align some other good pattern news!



Goodbye December... maybe

Since I did such a non existent job of sharing our holiday decorations with you as they went up, I thought I might share them with you as they go down [actually... saying that they are going down is my way of hoping that I manage to actually get them down this week! What are the odds of that actually happening?]

Question for you? What is the longest you have ever kept up your decorations?















Happy "Holiday Decoration Take Down" Day. Now THAT should be a holiday!




Day #5: The 12 Days of Christmas

Welcome to Day #5 of the 12 Days of Christmas: Fig Tree Style! Each day we will have a different kit, a different sale and even a few giveaways along the way. Join us each day so that you don't miss out on a single thing. We are so excited to share all of our goodies with you!


Day #5



I am sure that I have mentioned on more than one occasion, my love of pillows! Its the perfect way to completely change your room in an afternoon- for a special occasion, for a freshen up or for a holiday makeover. A couple of pillows on the couch, the bed or your favorite recliner or love seat can and will completely change the feel of your room. Really!

This pattern, Pillow Duets, has the pattern for both a square pillow in either a 3- fabric plus linen version or the scrappy charm pack with linen version. It also contains the rectangular button pillow that can be made entirely from a charm pack and some linen. Can you imagine the different ways that you could make these with a single charm pack and some neutral solid of any kind! Makes me want to go make pilllows!!



... the square pillows on top, the rectangular button pillows on the bottom


... button pillows made from Buterscotch & Rose on the bottom, Buttercup & Strawberry Fields on the top.


... right there in the middle is the square Butterscotch & Rose version that we are offering kitted today.


Special #1:

Square Pillow Kit, Butterscotch & Rose version. Contains pattern, linen, backing, Butterscotch & Rose charm pack, button kit... basically all you would need to make the pillow exactly as seen. And actually with a few more buttons, the same kit can also make the Button Pillow instead if you prefer!

For more info, click here.

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As an alternative for those of you who are feeling more "festive" than "makeover", we created a holiday version of the same pillow pattern.

Introducing the Holiday Duet...



... a little linen, my favorite red Queen Anne's Lace fabric from Butterscotch & Rose, my favorite mosaic fabric from Mill House Inn and a few fun green buttons. Perfect for my holiday couch! Okay so maybe I did have a bit of an ulterior motive for making the prototype... it might be or not be gracing my living room couch next week!



... oh, and you can't see it here but it has a lovely cream, green and red floral geranium print from the 3 Sisters Martinique collection for the back of the pillow.


Special #1:

Square Holiday Duet Kit. Contains pattern, linen, cream floral backing, red floral for strips, red mosaic center square, green scraps for buttons, button kit... basically all you would need to make the pillow exactly as seen.

 For more info, click here.


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For those of you who want to make more buttons or make the Button Pillow version while you're whipping up your pillows, we have this amazing tool that we absolutely love and use for all of our button making needs! Today they are 10% off!

The I-Top

... in its fancy, schmancy new edition. Perfect for all of your button making needs! Works nicely with all standard brands of button forms [we use Dritz].

For more information, click here.


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Also, we have lots of button refill kits for those of you who need more to make more buttons. All of ours are the 7/8" size as shown on these pillows.

For 7/8" refill button kits, click here.


12 Days of Christmas Special Day #5: 

Both Pillow Duet kits are 20% off [through Wednesday].

The I-top Tool is 10% off [through Wednesday].

A little project. Very little.

In case you don't already know, I am in the midst of the final months of a new book manuscript. How could you not know? I feel like I have been going on about finishing it for months now, boring you all to death! But just in case you hadn't known, there it is.

As a result of the book and of the fact that it is the middle of summer, my life feels like a whirlwind of chapters, time at the pool with the kids, illustrations, kids wanting snacks, photo shoots, kid's coming home from camp wanting more snacks, more writing and then dirty, happy kids wanting more food before they play whiffle ball in the front yard with every single neighborhood kid they can scare up. Oh yeah, and they want snacks for that too.

In fact, I looked out the window the other day and one of the kids was running bases while hugging the bowl of pistachios I had put out there for them! I'll let you get a mental picture of that for a second. Got it? Good. It was pretty hysterical! 

 Is it just me, or do our kids eat more in the summer? I am going through food in Costco size quantities and I still seem to always be running out. But I digress.

In the midst of all this chapter writing and kid wrangling, I haven't had much of an opportunity to do anything simple and easy and, well, summery. But I have been dreaming of doing it. So finally yesterday I stopped all my deadline work and whipped up a couple of easy peasy kitchen towels. Really easy peasy.




I used my favorite kind of kitchen towel to start off - a flour sack [if your local drugstore doesn't carry these, google flour sack towel & you will find dozens of sources]. They usually come very wrinkled, so I pressed the towel well so it would be easy to lay the strip of fabric on it.

I cut a 3 1/2" strip of 3 prints from my Strawberry Fields collection and pressed each long end under a 1/4". I tucked one end under, pressed it and overlapped one edge of the towel by about 1". I pinned it in place and continued to pin the strip all the way across the towel to the other side, where I trimmed the end of my strip to hang off about 1 1/4". I then tucked that edge under too and tucked it behind the towel by about 1".

I sewed the strip on, on both sides. That's it! In about 35 minutes, I had three brand new kitchen towels that completely changed the feel of my kitchen to "summertime"- at least for me. And more importantly, I felt a great sense of completing something I had been wanting to do for a long time. And then I felt quite ready to go back to writing and making more snacks for the kids :-).

If you are feeling at all overwhelmed about the undone or unfinished state of your huge projects this summer, then just stop and do something little that you can finish quickly and that will make you smile every time you look at it. I promise that it will make you feel better!


... as you can probably tell from the photos, flour sacks come in different shades, some bleached and some natural. It seems that I have both in my stash and so you can see two different shades of fabric on the towels.


On another quick note, we have restocked the cream bundles with a new bundle #3. So many of you have requested these and I am so sorry that we were not able to get them done any faster [we were waiting for fabric to arrive] and that we don't have more. Have fun! These are great as backgrounds for whatever project you are working on or great for your stash if you collect creams like me!